Rodney Butler Named First Team All-Sun Belt, Jaden Wright Second Team All-Sun Belt

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - New Mexico State football’s Rodney Butler and Jaden Wright highlights the group of seven Aggies that earned postseason honors as announced by the Sun Belt Conference Wednesday afternoon. The seven award winners for NM State are the most since the Aggies joined the SBC in 2013.

Joining Butler and Wright on the all-conference award list are Sage Doxtater, Tyler Rogers, Anthony McMeans, Greg Hogan and Kourtland Busby.

Butler, the nation’s leading tackler with 13.8 tackles per game (165 totals), was named a first-teamer on defense. This is the second all-conference honor for Butler after earning honorable mentions accolades back in 2014 as a sophomore. He also led the nation in tackles 12 of the 14 weeks since the season started on Sept. 3 for NM State. His 24 tackles against Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico was two shy of tying the NCAA single-game tackles record. The Palm Springs, Calif., product recorded double-digit tackles in all but one game this season. His three forced fumbles on the year led the Sun Belt Conference and was good for 28th in the nation while his 63 solo tackles is good for third in conference action and 30th in the country. Butler wrapped up his senior campaign with 165 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception.

Wright earned second-team honors on defense after a breakout junior season that included 81 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The Lewisville, Texas, native led the conference with four forced fumbles, which was tied for 12th in the country. His five picks this season was second-most in the SBC and ranked ninth amongst FBS players. He recorded a career-high 15 tackles in NM State’s final home game against Appalachian State while adding one TFL and a forced fumble.

Doxtater, a 6-7 tackle from Welland, Ontario, Canada, was named to the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer Team. The freshman started in the first nine games of his collegiate career at left tackle before missing the final three games with an injury. Doxtater became the second Aggie to be named to the SBC newcomer team after Terrill Hanks earned it in 2015.

This is the second-straight all-conference honorable-mention award for McMeans, who was recognized on the honorable mention team last season after blocking for Larry Rose III to a Third-Team AP All-American award. Shaq, as he is known to teammates and close friends, was a captain for NM State alongside fellow senior Butler.

Rogers had a great offensive year for the Aggies, leading the team to 414.7 total yards of offense per game. The Peoria, Ariz., product threw for 16 touchdowns while rushing in four touchdowns himself along with a receiving TD. He finished the season second in passing TDs, third in points responsible for (126), third in total offense (266.9/game) and third in completions (20.36). His 445 yards through the air at Troy tied him for the 10th-best for passing yards in a single game. Against Texas State at home, Rogers became just the third player in 2016 to have rushed, thrown and caught a touchdown in a game.

This is the first postseason honor for both Hogan and Busby after posting solid numbers for the Aggies in 2016. Hogan finished the season with three receiving touchdowns for 377 yards on 32 receptions. His best game came against Louisiana at home when he caught 11 passes for a career-high 1172 yards – including a touchdown in overtime.

Busby was one of the anchors for the NM State defense, playing all but one game this season. The 6-3, 255 pound defensive lineman registered 44 tackles on the year, including 5.5 tackles for loss (16 yards). He also picked up a sack in the final game of the season at South Alabama for a loss of eight yards. The Pflugerville, Texas, product also completed his junior campaign with a fumble recovery and seven quarterback hurries.